Dave Brewster (Adam Williams) and his wife Anne (Peggy Webber) are moving with their two children, Bud (Michel Ray) and Ken (Johnny Crawford), to a base where Dave will be working on a top-secret rocket test.
While on the way to their new home, Bud and Ken notice something odd happening at the beach. They discover later that a glowing brain-like creature has landed on the beach, left there by a teleportation beam.
This alien creature is able to communicate with the children through telepathy and they begin carrying out its plan to stop the rocket launch, with Bud working as the leader of the group.
Jack Arnold directs 1958’s The Space Children, written for the screen by Bernard C. Schoenfeld and based on the story by Tom Filer.
An interesting opening utilizes a double exposure technique, mixing shots of “outer space” with images of children. From then on, the film does a very good job of holding the viewer’s attention.
All of the child actors in the film do a pretty good job, especially Michel Ray as Bud, the ringleader of the “possessed” children. The kids aren’t quite as scary as you’d expect mind-controlled children to be, but there are a few very creepy moments involving them.
The adult actors come off as a bit stiff, but this isn’t too bothersome since they aren’t the focus of the film.
More gripping than any of the performances is the striking anti-nuclear war message. The film was released during the Cold War era and emphasizes the fact that nuclear war would be extremely harmful to the generation’s children and their futures.
Nice cinematography and decent special effects are also a positive. The glowing brain, though not visually realistic, is pretty awesome.
The Space Children has some very good moments of high tension and thrills, and a great ending. It wraps up with a bit of silliness and optimistic cheese, but that doesn’t ruin it. Overall, it’s an interesting 1950s sci-fi film with a distinctly Cold War-era moral. The score: 3.8/5